via FAO rescues govt – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 29, 2015
The government’s plans to consolidate its land policy have received a major boost after the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) offered to fund the exercise to the tune of $500 million, Lands and Resettlement minister Douglas Mombeshora has revealed.
BY Fidelity Mhlanga/Elizabeth Dumbreni
Mombeshora told delegates attending a Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce conference in Victoria Falls last week that the ministry was planning to carry out countrywide consultations and come up with a solid land policy.
“We have approached FAO and the European Union to say: Can you come in and help us?” he said.
“It is going to be an extensive consultation because everyone has an issue of land.
“The first stage is to have funding. Next week on Monday I will present the issue to the President (Robert Mugabe). I cannot talk of timelines before we talk to superiors.”
Mombeshora said the new policy would tackle hurdles on land distribution as well as tax and tenure issues.
This comes amid reports that most banks had refused to accept A1 permits and 99-year lease agreements as collateral security for borrowing money.
Section 72 of the new Constitution, which deals with rights to agricultural land, empowers government to acquire agricultural land for a public purpose. This may include resettlement for agriculture, land re-organisation, forestry and environmental conservation among other purposes.
Mugabe this year conceded that the majority of farmers were failing to properly use their allocated land due to cash constraints.
Zimbabwe used to be the breadbasket of Africa exporting the bulk of its produce to the continent and European markets.
Government faces a herculean task to revive the agricultural sector and import 1,2 million tonnes of maize to feed the nation.